Charter Communications - Unreasonable Business Model

Posted on Friday, June 14th, 2013 at 5:46pm CDT by George J.

Company: Charter Communications

Location: 12405 Powerscourt Drive


Category: Internet Services

Charter Communications offers a 30Mbps plan for $30 per month with a data cap of 250GB for a 30 day billing period regardless of how many people, devices, or services are in a household.

250GB downloaded non-stop (excluding upload packets) would be reached in

18.5 hours at 30Mbps

55.6 hours at 10Mbps

111.1 hours (4.6 days) at 5Mbps

370.4 hours (15.4 days) at 1.5Mbps

250GB per month is 8.3GB per day which translates into an average of:

0.6 hours per day at 30Mbps

1.9 hours per day at 10Mbps

3.7 hours per day at 5Mbps

12.3 hours per day at 1.5Mbps

These averages are regardless to the number of persons, devices, or services a household may have. The fact that anyone can exceed Charter's 30Mbps data cap at 1.5Mbps in half a month should be a warning sign that the data cap is unusually low.

In addition, going to Charter's Ultra 100Mbps package for $90 per month only doubles the data cap. Which means the aforementioned estimates above would be doubled.... still easily achieved in less than 30 days (except for 1.5Mbps which would be right at a month or a little over).

Charter's acceptable use policy asserts that exceeding the monthly data cap is an excessive use of bandwidth. Something hard to believe since Charter's network is designed for speeds in excess of 100Mbps (in order to guarantee 100Mbps per household). Not to mention each home's speed limit is enforced by the cable modem itself. Hard to say someone is using excessive bandwidth when their speed is a trickle of the ISP's maximum.

What seems clear is the data speeds of these plans Charter offers is nothing more than a distraction for what the plans truly are. Charter is actually selling data cap plans that happen to also vary by speeds.

My household happens to be quite tech saavy. Charter's data caps have not kept up with the times given all the things that can easily eat up Charter's data cap in one month for things such as security cameras, slingbox, netflix, cell phones, high def video chats, WebEx for online classes, overall browsing habits, etc.

I see no legitimate reason why Charter would compel its customers to pay more money for a faster speed when people are just fine browsing at slower speeds with no data cap. Charter's business model relies on artificially constraining data usage and it does not foster customer loyalty nor getting new customers.

Charter should consider basing all data caps to equal an average of 8 hours of downloading per day for the advertised speed. This would come to:

30Mbps x 8 hours per day = 3.24TB monthly cap (108GB / day)

10Mbps x 8 hours per day = 1.1 TB monthly cap (36 GB / day)

5 Mbps x 8 hours per day = 540 GB monthly cap (18 GB / day)

1.5 Mbps x 8 hours per day = 162 GB monthly cap (5.4 GB / day)


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